Tired of Losing Your Best Marketing Staff?

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You’re looking at your marketing budget and know that it has been cut significantly. You don’t like any of the options you have to continue on with the new budget. And, you’re losing staff for a myriad of reasons. Your question is: How do I keep my best marketing staff?

I hear this a lot lately. Many companies have been seeing unprecedented turnover. Not only is this costly for the company but it costs the marketing team time and momentum on campaigns and launches.

Here Are Steps You Can Take to Keep Your Best Marketing Staff:

1. Basics

Let’s start at the beginning. After you have evaluated your department or your marketing agency, determine who is performing to the level you are happiest. If the agency is not getting close to the established KPIs and your ROI isn’t thrilling, ask to speak with them and have an honest discussion about what the challenges are.

Start with knowing what is working and what is not. We want to spend time and energy focusing on people and activities that are adding to the bottom line and we want to eliminate what is not working.

2. Evaluate

After you know what isn’t working, take a look at why. Ask staff why they think certain strategies or campaigns or staff aren’t performing to the level expected. 

Let’s eliminate the issue being your management style. What I mean by that is if you find out that your directions to staff aren’t clear or are vague and you aren’t available to answer questions when needed. Or, if you haven’t accurately budgeted for ads or marketing tools, then we need to make improvements to the process. 

3. Educate

Give time and opportunities to your staff for professional development. You’ll see who makes the most of the ability to increase their effectiveness and may possibly change how you see one of your underperforming employees. 

Professional development is one of THE biggest issues brought up over and over by those leaving their jobs today. It is important for those working for you to know that not only will they be trained well so they are set up for success but that they have the best up-to-date training as their peers.

4. Flexibility

Being flexible where you can be is important. If someone wants to work from home or another location, work toward making that happen. When hiring, extend your offer to those who work remotely from another state if possible. 

Flexibility shows you value those who work for you and sets a positive tone for the work environment. I often find people are more productive when given the flexibility to work around family caregiving obligations.

5. Feedback

Giving a review once a year is not going to help you keep your best and brightest. In fact, it could breed contempt. Instead, schedule weekly or monthly one-on-one meetings to go over regular items. This allows you and the staff to talk about issues before they become a real problem and affect someone’s review.

Giving regular feedback that recognizes the wins and hard work along the way while addressing items that you’d like to see improve goes a long way toward creating a safe atmosphere to work. 

Also, ask about ideas and improvements your staff would like to see in these meetings. Productivity can be increased by using ideas within your own tribe.

6. Outsource

Hear me out: I’m not suggesting you outsource every position in your company. Strategically look at the results from #1 when you were evaluating staff for performance. Start here with outsourcing. 

If you’re looking for a way to keep your budget within limits, the ability to add more expertise when needed, and get people who are really into their job – then you should look at outsourcing. The reason is that you can get a lot of bang for your buck. 

  • You don’t have to do all the paperwork for hiring someone and training.
  • You can bring them on for a limited time and really see the quality of work before committing to anything longer-term.
  • Using an agency you can be assured they can meet your needs such as when you have a seasonal business.

Consistency Is Key for Marketing and You Need Your Team for That

Use the steps I listed to help you attract and keep your best employees. Creating an atmosphere where employees feel appreciated and are rewarded for a job well done is the basis for all your efforts. 

Hire Marketing Help That Is Reliable

If you’re looking for help training new hires in your marketing department or would like to outsource any or all of your digital marketing, let’s talk! Contact me to schedule a consultation. I love helping small to medium-sized businesses gain a competitive advantage over their competition.

Top Free and Paid Market Research Tools – Start 2023 Off Right!

Market Research Tools - Web Garden - female looking at data graphs on big screen

Running a business requires you to know as much as possible about your target market. You might think that doing this requires paying a marketing firm to run an in-depth analysis. Or as those of us in marketing call it – market research. This is not the case.

Instead, you can do your own market research to learn as much as possible about your target audience and prospective customers. I’m going to share how you can start 2023 with this stockpile of information at your disposal.

How Does Market Research Help My Marketing?

In a nutshell, market research helps your business because it reminds you of what should be driving every decision—your customers. If you don’t consider what your customers want (and need) then you will quickly find yourself out of business. In fact, a recent survey has shown that as little as one bad experience from a customer can spread like wildfire and cut your customer base by as much as two-thirds.

Receive Valuable Market Research Data Quickly, at Your Fingertips, and for Free

Unless you have an extremely unique situation or complex problem you’re trying to solve, the free tools that I am about to share will give you information that is profitable.

Here are the Top Free Market Research Tools:

 

  1. Google Trends —

This tool, introduced in 2006, is one of the best when it comes to understanding the market. It shows you a ranking of what words people are searching for when they go to Google.

Considering Google processes almost 100 billion searches a day, that’s a lot of data to have to sort through. What makes this great (besides the huge amount of data it sorts) is that the tool is easy to use and creates an easy-to-understand line graph showing how popular the term is.

The only downside for Google Trends is that it doesn’t give you an exact number of how many people are searching for that term. (It gives a ranking out of 100 but you don’t know exactly how many people specifically have entered that term.) Additionally, you may find that some of the related topics that you are shown may not actually be related to what you need to know, so a little sifting on your part may be necessary. But, considering what you get (and the fact that it’s free to use), this is something you should be utilizing.

 

  1. Think with Google —

While a lot of people “in the know” have heard of Google Trends, Think with Google often slips under the radar. This platform is a one-stop shop for data including statistics and studies. If you want to do easy-to-use market research, this is the tool for you.

Think with Google is split into four categories that all center on market trends (Consumer Insights, Future of Marketing, Marketing Strategies, and Tools), but this is the only real drawback as the system solely deals with marketing information.

 

  1. Facebook Page Insights —

Moving away from Google, let’s look at one of the most popular social media platforms and how you can use it for market research. Chances are, you probably use Facebook to reach its nearly 3 billion users. Page Insights will allow you to look at your posts and how they perform with your audience.

One of the biggest draws for this tool is that Facebook offers two courses on how to use it. Unfortunately, it’s limited to looking at your data—so you can’t look at overall trends or other competitor information. But if you are looking to engage with social media, this free tool is definitely something for you.

 

  1. LivingFacts —

If you’ve ever heard of the Pew Research Center and the US Census Bureau, then you know they are like a one-stop-shop for statistics. LivingFacts is a great resource in that it takes this data and condenses it into easier-to-digest overviews. What is really great about this resource, besides the huge treasure trove of information, is that you know the information is accurate and can be trusted.

 

  1. Census Bureau —

If you’re looking for demographics, you can always go to the source, the Census Bureau. This is updated with over 130 surveys each year to give you the best overall demographic feel for trends in the United States. If you have a NAICS (North American Industry Classification System) code for your business, you can actually sort data based on what fits your industry. If there is a downside, it may be that there is SO MUCH information that it may be hard to sort.

 

Here Are the Top Paid Market Research Tools:

While there are a lot of free research tools, there are a few that charge a fee but in my opinion, they are TOTALLY worth the money. These include:

  1. SurveyMonkey (Basic Plan Is Free/Premium Plan Is $99 Per Month) —

What makes SurveyMonkey such a great tool is that it doesn’t use data and statistics compiled by another source. Instead, you can create your own surveys and gather the data that you specifically need.

You can send out the survey through email or social media or even put it on your web page. The downside here is that you may not get as many responses as you’d like. But if you give this a try, you may be surprised at how much information you will get.

 

  1. Statista (Basic Plan Is Free/Premium Plan Is $59 Per Month) —

This site is known for not only its great data but also the very visual way that it presents it so that the information is easier to digest. Statista is constantly being updated, which sets it apart as well. You might find that a chart you look at one month has changed data the next month as the charts and graphs will be updated to reflect those changes.

 

  1. Typeform (Limited Free Plan/Premium Plan Is $25+ Per Month) —

This user-friendly application gives you pre-made templates allowing you to create marketing tools. You can also create your own surveys and marketing forms that you can use in your day-to-day work and on your website.

Typeform is available on mobile devices. Remember, most people today access the internet from their smartphones. So be sure to get them where they are!

 

  1. ​​Buzzsumo (Basic Plan Is Free/Premium Plan Is $99 Per Month) —

This website combs through several billion articles and trillions (yes, TRILLIONS) of social media posts to help you find the data you need to engage your audience. This site lets you see what people are talking about online and what is important to them so you can then use that to better market to your customer base.

 

  1. Ubersuggest (Premium Plan Is $29 Per Month/Lifetime Plan Is $290)—

If you’ve been working in marketing, then you know all about SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and PPC (Pay-Per-Click) marketing. Ubsersuggest is geared strictly around these two concepts. It allows users to check their website to see how their SEO efforts are doing and to check the sites of their competition to see how they can change their domain to take the lead in search engine rankings.

Start Your 2023 by Gathering Data to Create a Dynamic Marketing Strategy

Data is a powerful tool for marketers—in fact, it may very well be the most important weapon in your arsenal. If you are looking to best invest your money for marketing purposes, then having an experienced marketing expert analyze the data and recommend the best strategy is the best use of your money.

Would You Like Help with Your Market Research Data?

I love helping clients with their marketing strategy and implementation. It’s a great way to grow your customer base and create brand awareness while increasing profit. If you’re interested in learning more about working with me, contact me to schedule a consultation!

 

 

Planning Your Digital Marketing Strategy and Budget for 2023

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The new year is fast approaching and if you’re working with the executives in your organization to create a Q1 budget for 2023, I have your back! There’s so much to consider going into our third-year post Pandemic. I break it down for you so you know you’re creating a winning budget that increases web traffic and lead conversions.

Let’s start by looking at each area of marketing you’re going to assign dollars to.

Your Strategy and Budget for 2023

Content Marketing

Content covers a large area of marketing. This can be all the words you use on your social media, emails, ads, website, blogs, landing pages, videos, infographics, white papers—the list goes on. It makes sense that a large part of your 2023 budget should go to this area of your marketing strategy. If you’re putting emphasis on organic SEO, it is even more important if you want to see results.

Let’s look at a few stats to show you what I mean:

  • In 2021, short articles were the third best content choice for B2B (business-to-business) marketing. (Short articles are those with 3,000 words or less.)
  • Sales are used by over half (60%) of marketers to measure whether their content marketing strategy was successful.
  • The majority (56%) of marketers see blogs as an effective area of content and 10% of those see them as offering the biggest ROI (return on investment) for marketing.

Since every organization’s budget amount will vary, we’re going to discuss percentages. The bottom line is that the areas you want to focus on should get the highest percentage of your budget money.

Content marketing should be around 40-60% of your budget. You can use that budget to outsource a content writer and know that you’re getting a professional, experienced in that one specific area. You can get more bang for your buck by focusing on a content marketing writer rather than having a “jack-of-all-trades” who doesn’t master content marketing.

Your strategy is to:

  • Identify the highest ROI channels for reaching your ideal customers;
  • Once you’ve identified the top 3, focus 75% of your content marketing time, resources, and most importantly – budget dollars—on those areas.
  • This should be re-evaluated every quarter. Social platforms, ad servers, and technology change fast these days and you need to constantly shift your budget priorities as needed.

Areas of Content You Should Evaluate for ROI

Emails/Newsletters  

Ever since the invention of email, every marketing study has said that nothing—NOTHING—has a bigger ROI than email. But it all comes down to if it is done correctly.

Not even social media can compete with email marketing. The pros include not having to deal with social platforms saying you can’t post about this topic or run that ad.

Additionally, you can pull data to see what your audience responds to and focus on those findings. Seriously, it should be at the top of your list to utilize.

Blogs

Next to emails, blogs are high ROI as there is little cost involved and usually that cost is just someone you have writing the content for you.  This is where you want someone who understands SEO and how to write so that potential customers will read and look around the website. We happen to know someone if you’re looking for help. 😉

Ads and Landing Pages

This area usually depends on WHERE you place ads and how well you create them. Content is important and each platform has its own requirements as to what works best. If you’re not doing a lot of blog or email content, then you may need to spend more in this area to bring traffic to the website and create leads.

Content Created for the Sales Team

Your sales team will tell you what content you need to focus on. This is because they know your customers best and they know what they hear from leads. They also know what questions are repeatedly asked by those same customers and how they would like to direct those questions to be answered. Whether that be on a website FAQ or pamphlet or perhaps a social media infographic, you need your sales team to let you know what avenue to pursue.

Ad Spending

This should be somewhere between 25-40% of your budget. Ultimately, the final total will depend on how much you invest in your organic strategy and how well that strategy produces conversions/profit. It could be more than 40% if you are focusing on paid ads.

The numbers must make sense and you must consider the platforms you’re spending on. A Google Ad spend is different from a Facebook or Instagram ad budget. For a deeper analysis of what makes the most sense and the highest ROI for your industry and budget, talk to an experienced professional. (If you want to contact me right now, feel free.)

Technology and Software Subscriptions and Purchases

These days, for the best analytics to determine how successful any of your efforts are, you need something to manage the data. This category can cover a wide range depending on the price and how robust the tools they offer are.

If you don’t have a customer relationship management (CRM) program, then you might want to look into getting one. Also, a social media management tool makes a lot of sense as well. It will manage all of your social media platform data and allows you to see who is engaging with you so you can nurture possible leads and take action against online trolls.

As I mentioned earlier, having email marketing software is really helpful. Mailchimp and Constant Contact both call themselves Online Marketing Companies and that’s for a good reason. They now offer a very robust toolbox to use for more than just email.

At this point, if you can find a platform that offers just the right amount of form, function, and data in a way that seems intuitive to you, then it is worth being a line item on your budget sheet. Ideally, this category would be in the 10% – 25% range depending on how big your budget is and how much you prioritize content and ad marketing spending.

Creating a Marketing Budget Can Be Stressful. Use This Guide to Help.

Budgeting right now can be an insane process as many people are still trying to figure out what the “new normal” is going to be in this post-pandemic world. But these standards and rules ensure that your business not only survives but thrives.

Would You Like Help with Your Digital Marketing?

I love helping clients with their marketing strategy and implementation. It’s a great way to grow your customer base and create brand awareness while increasing profit. If you’re interested in learning more about working with me, contact me to schedule a consultation!

 

What You Need to Know About Repurposing Content for Social Media

One of the biggest issues I see my clients dealing with is keeping up with the hectic pace of their marketing. Specifically, they have a hard time maintaining all their digital work—writing blog posts, updating social media, responding to emails, and creating ads. 

It’s a huge component of running a business in the 21st century. But finding enough time during the day can be a daunting task. One way to potentially fix this problem is to “repurpose” your content. 

So many of us are trying to create a blog and relevant social media posts on a set schedule. We forget we can use a lot of content we already have with a bit of tweaking. And, as we create new content with repurposing in mind, we can reduce the amount of time we spend on content creation. Let me show you what I mean.

Why Repurpose Content?

Let’s start by talking about why you should consider repurposing your existing content. Think of it this way:

  • Repurposing saves time. There are just so many hours in the day and running a business seems to take all of them. By repurposing your existing content into new material, you’re saving time and energy that can be better spent on other avenues of your business (and your personal life)! And by planning when creating new content, you can create once and use the content in multiple ways.

 

  • Repurposing ensures everyone on all social channels sees your content. Let’s face it, not everyone is on the same social media platform (and there seems to be a new one regularly). By repurposing your material, you’re making sure that new followers are getting your content along with those who might not have seen it through some of your other channels.

 

  • Repurposing maintains consistency. You want to deliver consistency for your brand, and this comes in two forms. First, you want to be consistent about when you post. The other is that you want the consistency of the message. Posting the same message on all channels helps.

 

  • Repurposing takes advantage of the algorithms on all social platforms. Not all social media platforms are alike when it comes to their content algorithms. So, if you can tweak your content from one platform to make it more amenable to another, it prevents having to generate constant content while also ensuring the content is seen across all platforms.

 

How To Repurpose Content

You’re on board with the benefits of repurposing but how do you do it? 

I suggest you start with creating video content. Video is the most editable content and is a great place to start. The strategy is to create one themed piece of content and use it in multiple ways. Here’s how:

  • Record your video. Whether you’re making a podcast, a webinar, or a livestream video, be sure to record it. How many times have we forgotten to record our Zoom interview or to save the livestream in the correct location? Plan ahead and keep the recording as it will be used many ways!

 

  • Create a transcript for the video. There are resources online such as Microsoft Word (online Teams version) and Rev.com that can create a quick, easy transcript of your video. Then, you can take the transcript and turn it into a blog by adding more to what you’ve said or pulling in other resources. 

 

  • Mark the times in the video when you begin to discuss a new topic. This helps the reader should they want to hear more about the issue. It also helps the reader to know the topic they most want to know more about and where it is located so they can skip to that part in the blog or the video.

 

  • Use the blog/video for social media. Cut the video into 1 minute or less high impact points. These can be used as teasers on social media to bring in an audience for the whole video. Pull quotes from the video/blog to use as a post on your social media accounts. You can also create a carousel from tips or steps that were discussed in the original piece.

 

  • Use a poll for your social media audience. Let your tribe speak out on what they like about the topic or the format. This gives you the chance to interact with your followers and get a little more mileage out of the original blog/video.

 

For existing content on your website, look at data to see which were your most popular blogs. From there, take those blogs and provide more information, resources, or simply an update on the topic. Pull stats, quotes, and interesting facts from the piece to create new social media posts. You could record a video to accompany the blog as part of the update!

Take A New Approach to Creating Content

Trying to be constantly creative and inspiring for your customers and social media followers can take a crushing toll on your mental health and your business. Use these tips to create a consistent message that goes out to all your social and marketing platforms. This will drive home the message, giving you time to plan and create your messages. The best part is you’ll enjoy the process much more!

Would You Like Help with Your Content Marketing?

I love helping clients with their content strategy, planning, creation, and implementation. It’s a great way to grow your customer base and create brand awareness. If you’re interested in learning more about working with me, contact me to schedule a consultation!

4 Email Marketing Growth Hacks

hands on laptop with tiny email envelopes springing up - 4 Email Marketing Growth Hacks

Before social media hit the Internet and took over EVERYTHING in marketing, there was one stalwart that you could rely on to promote your business—email marketing. Now, many are finding a renewed sense of interest in this form of promotion because of numerous issues with social media. This includes the constantly changing social media algorithms and the “time outs” so many are experiencing from the various platforms. 

Even with all this chaos in the social media world, it’s important for you to have a way to communicate with your tribe and email marketing is one of the best. Growing your email list is a great way to increase your visibility as well as lead to conversions. If you’re not sure how to grow your email list, I have a few ideas to share with you.

Try These Email Growth Hacks 

 

Optimize Your Readers’ Mobile Experience

Focus on optimizing your email experience to ensure you’re getting your customers where they live and where they’re viewing the information. It used to be that everyone reading an email did so from their desktop computer. 

Now, only about 10% of people are reading emails on their desktops.  Instead, most people are reading these messages on their portable devices such as smartphones or tablets. So how does this change the game for you?

Let’s start with the obvious—your email will be read on a much smaller screen. This means that those huge graphics you’re including will be barely visible on a phone or tablet. Instead, design your emails using a mobile-friendly template. This will still be viewable on a desktop, but it will be easier to read on a phone. 

Keep your emails brief. For years now, the internet has been killing attention spans. If you send out a long, wordy email, then it’s going to go straight into the trash. Think of your marketing emails like those “fun size” Snickers bars. They are small enough to consume in one bite, but they will also whet your appetite for more information that they can get by following up with your website. 

 

Keep Emails to The Point and INTERESTING

If you’re sending out emails just because you think that is what you’re supposed to do or to just check a box, STOP. Emails are useless when readers begin to see there is no value for them to open the emails. Going through the motions because you think you must will actually hurt your business.

This negatively affects your email campaigns by skewing the numbers for people who were interested in your product or service but don’t want to waste their time with boring emails. You pay more for more emails and it can lead to negative numbers when they begin to unsubscribe. 

If you’re thinking, “How do I know what is interesting to my email subscribers?”, here’s what you need to do. Use your data. Every ESP (email service provider) has a data report you can pull for every email you send. In that data is the story of what it is your tribe is looking to receive from you.

Begin with info about your product or service that you get asked a lot. Behind-the-scenes videos and information are always interesting. Offering special discounts and email-only opportunities is sure to keep people wanting to open your emails. 

Be sure to check for spelling and grammar issues before you press send on the emails. Get a friend or colleague to check for you if you need to. Poorly written emails can turn off potential customers as badly as useless or uninteresting information.

Optimize Your Email Subject Lines

Think of subject lines as the key to getting in so you can market to your potential customer. If the subject line is not interesting or compelling, then they won’t even open the message. And what point is a marketing email if no one reads it? Look at your data to see if your open rates are low. If they are, then your subject line probably isn’t interesting enough to get them to click on the message. 

Automate Your Email Marketing

A lot of people worry that automating your email marketing is too expensive or too cold and impersonal to actually work. But, the return on investment is big when you consider the potential for success that it brings. Email automation makes it easier to target specific email recipients and personalize those emails. These two aspects make it more likely that the person receiving the email will open it and respond to it.

Email Marketing Is an Important Part of Your Marketing Strategy

Nobody is saying that you should throw out your whole social media marketing plan. But the reality is that it should not be your only form of marketing. A smart email marketing plan will bring in customers and clients if you plan properly.

Need Help with Your Email Growth and Marketing?

This is the perfect time to get email and email automation set up for your company. If you’re looking for help with strategy or setting up automation in your marketing and emails, reach out! Check out my contact page to set up a quick chat to discuss your needs.

How to Respond to Negative Social Media Comments

how to handle negative social media comments - web garden

It’s not surprising that the anonymity of the Internet has unleashed a torrent of trolling and negativity, especially towards businesses. If you’re a business owner, you’re going to get negative comments and reviews—it’s a fact of life. 

You can’t always please everyone 100% of the time. To be on social media means you’re going to have to address these negative comments head-on or you’ll be posting such bland content that you’ll not grow or attract your ideal clients. Knowing exactly how to handle these difficult situations will make your social media efforts profitable.

Here’s How to Respond to Negative Social Media Comments

1. Respond as soon as possible

One key takeaway here is that time is of the essence. If someone leaves a comment about how they received terrible customer service, you shouldn’t roll your eyes and think “What do I do now?” Instead, you should view this as having a real opportunity on your hands. 

Nothing takes the sting out of someone’s angry vitriol more than a quick reply. Well, perhaps a quick reply with a sympathetic tone. (We’ll get to that next.) The first and most important step is to have alerts set up for your phone so that you know when you’re receiving comments and then to make responding to negative comments a high priority.

2. Don’t delete the comment

It may be very tempting to just get rid of the problem by hitting “delete.” There could be some really good reasons why you don’t want to comment on the post. It could be that the comment doesn’t make sense, or it has inaccurate information. It could be that the commenter is known for always stirring up trouble and for having a chip on their shoulder. It may be that you just don’t want to “feed the trolls” by giving them more of the attention that they obviously crave.

And yes, there are times when deleting the negative comments are appropriate. If they use offensive language or profanity, then get rid of it! But, if they have an actual, legitimate complaint, you run a risk if you delete it. If the person has a legitimate issue, then your censoring of their comment is just going to throw gasoline on the fire. 

Another thing to remember is that the commenter isn’t the only person watching. All of your current and potential customers who follow you on social media will see this. If you delete their complaint, then it’s going to look like you have something to hide. And that will hurt your brand credibility.

3. Address the Issue… with sympathy

If you’re in the wrong or if the complaint is reasonable, start out by apologizing. Someone came into your place of business (or went to your website) and had something go wrong enough to cause them to want to write out their issues. So, giving them a sympathetic ear and a polite response is really the least you can do.

Another thing to remember is that you’re not just writing this for the complaining person. You’re also writing it for all of those who will see the original complaint and judge your response. 

We’ve become used to seeing these types of comments and responses on social media. People will decide whether to buy from you (or continue to buy from you) based on your response. Depending on how the complaint is posted, they may put themselves in the shoes of the complaining person. They want to know you will take the time to care about the problem and then they want to know what you will do to correct it.

4. Take the Issue Private

If you need more information or if the topic is “sensitive”, then ask to speak with the person complaining through private DMs or offer to call them. You really do want to make things right and you need more information to determine what happened. If you need to talk with an employee, change a policy or fix a computer error, you’ll need to discuss the details with the person to be able to do that.

While this gives you an excellent opportunity to apologize again and to offer to make things right, make certain you have offered apologies as part of the response to the original complaint so all other social “bystanders” can see. In effect, you may need a “public” apology and a private one as well to make this issue right.

5. Appreciate the feedback

Don’t take the complaint personally. Instead, look at it as feedback that you can grow from. People online want their voices heard and acknowledged. Part of your response should be to thank them for their feedback. 

Even if it is a harsh complaint, thank them for their suggestions that will help you improve your customer service. In a way, kill them with kindness. 

But once you’ve thanked them, it’s very important that you follow through on the issue. Share the complaint with your employees so they can see what happened and it can be fixed so it won’t happen again. 

Immediately Handling Negative Comments Is Good Customer Service

Taking complaints seriously and handling them quickly is a huge part of being a business owner, especially in the Internet era. Be sure that you don’t take the complaint as a personal attack and that you follow through appropriately so that you don’t alienate the complainer or everyone else watching online.

Would You Like Help with Your Social Media?

I love helping clients with their social media strategy and implementation. It’s a great way to grow your customer base and create brand awareness. If you’re interested in learning more about working with me, contact me to schedule a consultation!

Recent Instagram Change You Should Know About

hand holding smart phone - instagram change you should know about - web garden

I’ve said that when it comes to the Internet and technology, the only constant is change. Just when you think you’ve figured everything out and know what you’re doing with your social media marketing plan, one of the “big three” (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram), steps out to throw you a curveball. 

This time, it’s Instagram’s turn to change things up with recent adjustments to their algorithm. Let’s look at what this change actually is and how it can impact your social media presence. 

Instagram Is All About the Content

One of the hardest parts about keeping an active social media presence is finding ways to create new content. In the past, one of the easiest ways to do this was with a repost. 

You could find a comment, post, or meme that your audience might find interesting and repost it. This would figure into your algorithm as “content” and move you up in the SEO rankings. Now, that’s all changing. 

Since April 20, 2022, Instagram has revised its algorithm to prioritize original content. In other words, you’ll be rewarded for creating something new and original as opposed to just sharing content that someone else created. 

And this makes a lot of sense. As the Head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, says, “If you create something from scratch, you should get more credit than if you’re resharing something you found from someone else.” If you create a thoughtful and insightful post that has clear value for your brand, then your post will rank higher than other marketers who attempt to ride your coattails by reposting your original content. 

The change is also meant to keep Instagram from becoming just a collection of the same dozen pieces of content being reposted over and over again. In the past, Instagram was already prioritizing original content over repostings. But now, they’re shifting even more into prioritizing the original content and they’re also using improvements in their systems to help better identify original content.

Based on this, here’s a rundown on exactly what this will look like for you:

  • If your Instagram profile does nothing (or almost nothing) but repost videos or images from other people’s profiles, then you’ll find yourself dropping in the overall rankings.

 

  • If your Instagram profile already features mostly original content, then your account probably won’t be impacted by these changes.

 

  • If you use other social media apps to post your content or if you create your content using a different app and then post it on Instagram, you’ll still reap the benefits as you will be considered the originator of the content.

 

  • If you repost customer-generated content, don’t worry. This will not be considered “original” content because you didn’t create it. But reposting a picture of a customer wearing your merchandise, for instance, is still an important marketing tool. You just want to make sure that this is not all you are posting on your account. Instead, mix it up with original content as well.

 

  • Finally, don’t panic if things shift slightly in the next weeks or months. Instagram will be working to better define “original content” which means posting and tools may be in a slight state of flux until their AI gets a grasp on things.

 

Learning the Changes on Any Social Media Platform Is Half the Battle

Businesses constantly have to innovate to stay relevant in their fields. Instagram is making this change to prevent its posts from becoming a redundant collection of the same reposted material. And, as a result, your business may have to innovate to stay relevant on social media and reach a greater audience. Make sure to create a schedule for posting original content so that you can regularly have something unique to say.

Tired of Keeping Up with the Algorithms?

I help clients stay on top of the increasing changes and updates in the social media landscape. Using a dynamic, custom strategy for each client, I ensure your social platforms are working for you. Interested in learning more about how getting help could increase your bottom line? Let’s chat

 

6 Ways Social Media Contributes to Your Business Growth

Social Media Grows Business - Web Garden Marketing

No one can argue that the biggest tech trend of the last decade has been social media. But while apps like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok are often thought of as only for certain niches like working moms or phone-addicted teenagers, they have a huge potential for helping with business growth. 

Unfortunately, many business owners and CEOs have been reluctant to fully embrace social media considering it a waste of time and money/resources. In fact, many business owners actively hate social media and don’t use any of the platforms at all. 

Switching the mindset to embrace social media to establish rapport and connection with customers (both current and potential) can be difficult. Here is helpful information for those who are hesitant to use social media or use it to its fullest potential.

Here are 6 Ways Social Media Can Contribute To Your Business’s Growth:

1. Enhance SEO     

It’s impossible to know all the things that go into Google’s ranking algorithm. However, after looking at the sheer volumes of data available, there is one clear deduction that can be made. 

Activity on social media translates into a higher ranking on Google and other search engines. It works like this. Your initial post on social media is one distinct mention of your business online. But then every time your post is shared, liked or commented on, that counts as additional mentions. 

All of this adds up to push your business higher on the SEO rankings. It can also lead readers to decide to visit your site directly, which really adds heavily to your ranking. 

 

2. Build an “online presence”

If no one knows that your business exists, then how are they ever going to walk through your doors? The same is true if you’re running a brick-and-mortar shop or an online store. 

To get customers to come in, you must let them know you’re open. That’s where social media comes in. In 2022, 3.96 billion people are using social media worldwide. That number will increase in the next three years to 4.41 billion. That’s over half of the planet that you are ignoring if you don’t try to reach them where they are with social media! 

By embracing social media, you’re creating name and brand recognition and building an online presence that will convert those potential customers to paying clients. This brand recognition establishes your authenticity as an expert in your field.

 

3. Provide opportunities for customer support and service

One of the biggest ways a business can fail its customers is if the customers think the business doesn’t care about them or their experience. Many customers will no longer call a customer support number fearing they will either get an apathetic or an automated response. 

Instead, they would rather handle complaints or issues through the convenience of their social media apps. If you interact with those who complain on social media, you show that you’re a person and not a faceless corporation. 

It also prevents the customer from taking the next step if you don’t respond online—they can post a negative review of you which can kill your credibility with other potential customers. To prevent this, use social media to track customer thoughts and reviews, then respond in a positive way so that you can bring customers back with the promise of an improved experience.

 

4. Learn more about your audience and customers

One thing you have probably heard is that many of the decisions driving today’s businesses are built on data analysis. Social media is a huge tool for attaining those demographic details to find out who your customers are and what their habits are. 

For instance, if you want to know what your customers are responding to on your social feed, look at your social platform’s analytics. All the major social apps (including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) provide statistics to help you manage and interpret all the data points that you might need.

 

5. Provide a great ad platform (both paid and unpaid)

If you aren’t on social media, then you may not realize just how great a platform it is for direct advertising. You can create innovative ad campaigns and then use the platform’s tools to help you target a specific audience. 

One thing that research has shown repeatedly is that social media app users love a personalized touch instead of a “one size fits all” style. That’s why these ads are great because they can be customized specifically to the customers you want to target. Also, by targeting your audience, you don’t have to pay to reach everyone, just the ones you want to market to.

 

6. Know what your competitors are doing

Even if you aren’t on social media, chances are your competitors are. If you want to know what promotions they’re offering or what they’re doing as a business so you can “counter-program,” then following them on social media is a must. 

But it goes beyond this. You can find other businesses and social media influencers who you might want to partner with. A collaboration—even a short-lived one—can get you more followers (and customers) and help your brand recognition flourish in a competitive field.

CEOs and Business Owners Know That Social Media Contributes To Growth and Revenue

If you want to succeed in today’s competitive business world, then a social media presence isn’t a suggestion—it’s an absolute must-have. Not only will more users sign on to social media in the coming years, but you can definitely expect new apps and platforms to start shaking up the market. 

Just as radio gave way to television and television to the Internet, social media is just the next progression in media that is dominating the masses. If you don’t take advantage of it with your business model, you can guarantee that your competitors will.

Would You Like Help with Your Social Media?

I love helping clients with their social media strategy and implementation. It’s a great way to grow your customer base and create brand awareness. If you’re interested in learning more about working with me, contact me to schedule a consultation!

Keep Your Digital Marketing Strategy Competitive in 2022 with These 4 Tips

female head looking at all the areas of online marketing - Digital Marketing Tips to Stay Competitive in 2022

If I had to pick one word to describe digital marketing for businesses in 2022, that word would be “competitive.” In the past couple of years, digital marketing has been expanding exponentially as more and more people have been stuck at home. 

Think I’m exaggerating? Check out these numbers:

In a saturated market with that much internet activity and material, you must find a way to distinguish yourself from the competition. I’d like to share with you ways that you can stand out from the crowd.

4 Ways to Stay Ahead of Your Competition with Your Digital Marketing Strategy:

1. Add a Fresh Perspective

Start by thinking about what it is you bring to the table. There’s no one who can do what you do or offer what you can, quite the way you do it. The important thing here is to find what makes you unique and then dial in on that. 

One way to do this is to share your personal story with your customers. Ask yourself “Why do I do the work that I do? What made me get into this line of work?” When you can identify that and share it with your prospective customers, you personalize yourself in a way your competitors can’t.

Another way to personalize yourself is to provide your own take on your business or industry. Show yourself to be an expert in your field by giving your opinion on what is happening in your industry. You can also educate your audience about your business by providing them with personal anecdotes and examples they can’t find from a Google search.

 

2. Use Influencers

Even if you’ve never done this before, now is the right time to give it a try. If you’re skeptical, realize that influencers are nothing new. Celebrity endorsers such as Michael Jordan (Nike), Kylie Jenner (Kylie Cosmetics), and Lebron James (Tonal) have been showing that customers will follow a product based on an associated personality. 

While your budget may not have the money for these big names, don’t let that stop you from using “micro-influencers.” These are usually more budget-friendly and not likely to break your marketing bank. 

In a pinch, you can even use an app like Cameo to look for celebrities willing to record a video to promote your product or service. If you aren’t sure about how to properly market your business using influencers, do your research and get help on how to approach and properly position your product with this growing group of marketers.

 

3. Update Older Content

There’s an old saying that “Everything old is new again.” This can be especially true for your older blogs and other content pieces. 

For instance, you can take your pre-COVID content and update it to reflect how things have changed since the pandemic started, giving it a fresh new approach. You can also look at new keywords that have become the most competitive and make use of those words or phrases when updating the content. 

When you do your update, consider adding more dynamic content options such as downloadable items (like checklists) or infographics. Finally, ensure that you’re using the best and most up-to-date SEO practices when updating your older content so that it can bring in more hits than the original pieces you are repurposing.

 

4. Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket

Finally, my best advice is to not put all your marketing focus on one avenue or area and to always look ahead. You don’t own the social media channels or the digital ad companies. 

When they make an algorithm change or have an update that increases privacy rules, you can pivot to a different channel so that you won’t have a huge sales decline. You can have another sales pipeline ready to go if something happens to the first one.  

To do this effectively, make use of all paid ad opportunities. Don’t just advertise on Google Ads, but also buy ads on Bing and Yahoo. Don’t just buy ads on Facebook but also get in front of potential customers on Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and all the social media channels. 

You may want to start small and with only one area to buy ads, but your strategy should be to eventually spread your funds. To make this easier, you should already know how each platform performs for you so you can have a way to continue to bring in sales even when a major change happens.  

 

Your Competitors Will Eat Your Dust 

Competition can be good when it keeps us on our toes and prevents us from becoming complacent. But it’s something you have to deal with, especially if you feel like the market is becoming oversaturated with businesses in your field. In order to stand out from the crowd, focus on what makes you unique and how you can make your business strong in the face of the competition.

Would You Like Help Promoting Your Uniqueness?

I love working with clients to boost their competitiveness in their industry. Just as every flower is beautiful…and unique, so is your company. If you’d like help marketing your distinctive advantage over all the others, contact me for a free initial consultation.